I’ve spent the last few months listening to podcasts on the art of writing fiction, especially novels. One of the best is the Odyssey Writing Workshop at http://www.sff.net/odyssey/podcasts.html. Another good one is Tom Occhipinti at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/americanwriters.com-creative/id150927587. It’s always good to keep sharpening your saw and learning the craft.
But there’s a dark side to spending too much time learning to write instead of just writing. It can be overwhelming to listen to all the advice. You end up with long laundry lists of dos and don’ts. If your’re not careful, you’ll get a sense that you’ll never write like the professionals. Becoming too self-conscious about your writing leads to mind-blocking fear and seals up all the fountains of creativity. I’ve got friends that have taken creative writing courses and decided that they’ll never measure up. They quit writing altogether.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Take all the advice with a grain of salt. There are many out there that preach dogma about the best way to write. Ignore them. Conventions change all the time. Best-selling authors break them and create new ones.With the advent of Kindle, Twitter and texting, new audiences are forming that are ripe for rule-breaking.
I have a confession to make. I started writing my first novel (Stones 1, coming out in May 2013) before I read any books on writing, took any creative writing classes or listened to any podcasts. Yes, I was naive. Yes, I’ve learned a lot since then. Yes, I’ve become a better writer as I’ve incorporated ideas from the professionals. But for me the key was to just start writing. Period.The first 100 pages were the toughest. The voices in my head ripped my confidence to shreds the whole time. Now I look back after writing 600,000 pages in two years.
I’m glad I didn’t let them scare me off.